Student achievement to be used to fund schools under new model
Here we go. All the haters out there get ready. This isn’t going to be pretty.
Essentially this has been on the tables for a while.
Now, before all the scaremongerers get going; this is not Teacher Performance Pay, so we’re safe for now. As soon as Teacher pay is based on student achievement, we will see a both mass exodus of teachers, and a massive push of teachers towards ‘successful’ schools with ‘successful’ students. It will also lead to a complete demolition of the National Standards, as teachers will be forced to resist temptation to inflate their own results. What teacher in their right mind is going to mark students as well below, when that could affect your pay?
An interesting side note, as I check out the glorious photo of the Minister in mid speech, I can’t help but notice the Public Achievement Information (PAI) in the background. These have been recently released, and I have it on relatively good authority from someone in the profession who has gone through the data with a fine tooth comb, that the data in the PAI are inaccurate with that which schools have sent in. Go figure!
Credibility long gone…
As has come to be expected from the Minister’s office; a big contradiction 18 months after making this statement:
“This morning, Parata said there was no shift to performance-based funding, instead it would be a “recalibration” of the decile system.” – 17 March 2014
I’m guessing, by “no shift” she meant “no shift today”, and “recalibration” should have been “complete removal”. Can we believe anything the Minister says, if in 18 months time she’s going to renege on any decision she’s made?
Are you listening?
There is an incredibly beautiful editorial in the Listener that was written around the last time the idea of performance pay came about, back in March last year.
It puts forward the arguments much better than I could ever hope to. So I’ve picked and chosen some of the key points below:
With the changes still hypothetical, it’s important not to lose sight of the brick wall such a policy would have to hurdle: the dearth of appropriate data. As Treasury warned Bill English in 2011, if we want to go down the performance-pay route, we need to collect a different sort of data. At present, “the ministry cannot identify which schools add the most value to their students”.
Unless Parata has some secret assessment system waiting in the wings, she will be relying on NCEA and National Standards.
Both are unusual in that they are largely set and marked by teachers. The OECD’s highly influential education frontman, Andreas Schleicher, whom Parata bounced the last performance-pay policy off before it was publicly announced, has flat-out said they can’t be used for anything resembling performance pay. Doing so would “distort” the assessments, he warns.
There’s a good reason why police, lawyers and judges, for example, are not incentivised on the basis of securing convictions: it would make a mockery of the justice system. The same precautions need to apply in education.
Stumbling blocks abound. How to compare a school where all the students sit NCEA with one in which half the kids opt for Cambridge or the International Baccalaureate exams? How to compare a school where a large proportion of NCEA credits come from exams and traditional academic subjects with one that leans heavily on less-demanding vocational courses?
It is possible that this is what PaCT will essentially become for the Ministry – a way of quantifying National Standards and the “OTJ” to make it an “OCJ” – or Overall Computer Judgement. This might be the “secret assessment system waiting in the wings”.
Poorer Performance needs the help
One gets the impression from Ms. Parata’s statements today, that the “Performance Pay” she is hinting at is to give greater support to the schools that need it. This is actually one thing that I as a teacher can agree with; possibly the first thing she’s alluded to that I can say that since she has been in office. But the Minister did not come out and actually say it. But by reading between the lines, she alludes to how they can support students to do better.
“You can’t have a funding review of a New Zealand education system where how well kids are or aren’t doing wouldn’t be a part of it,” she said following the conference on Thursday.
“Obviously where we end up might be a very different place but my desire absolutely is to take count of how well our students are doing in the system and how we might support them to do better.”- 1 October 2015
It is definitely interesting times in education. We all need to be aware of the decisions being made, (or not being made) and be careful not to assume too much. As Parata says, it is still in it’s infant stage of being developed.
Who knows, in 18 months she might change her mind again.